Bush nursing service cottons on to grants

The small town of Cecil Plains is a prime cotton growing region on the Darling Downs in south east Queensland. As with many regional communities, government funding for essential services is often stretched and limited, and the Anglicare Cecil Plains Bush Nursing Services is one such organisation that has had to rely more and more on community fundraising efforts. It’s been a vital part of the community for nearly 100 years.

Local cotton grower Stuart Armitage nominated the nursing service’s Fundraising Committee to receive a $5,000 Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities grant, funded by donor partner the Monsanto Fund. The Committee initially planned to use the funds to lease a car for nursing staff to use on their home visits, but after several changes in management, this idea was shelved.

Instead, the grant was used to achieve four key outcomes. Two nurses who work for Anglicare were enrolled with the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association to study nursing courses relevant to the needs of the community. The grant also part-funded an ECG and a spirometer to enable better diagnosis and management of medical issues, such as heart disease and asthma. They were also able to purchase a 2016 Queensland Aged and Disability Advocacy diary for clients. These diaries contain information about legal issues specifically for older people, enabling the nursing and respite staff to better inform clients about issues of concern to them.

Information evening leaves locals asking for more

The last part of the grant was used to host a Health Information Evening, with guest speakers that included a psychologist, cancer support worker, Heart Foundation Qld representative, a nurse practitioner, a doctor and a nursing sister and administration officer from the local clinic. The evening was designed to demonstrate to clients the wealth of medical and health care and support that can be accessed through the nurses at the local clinic.

Although it was held at a very busy time of year, about 25% of the population of the local district attended. Many of the people present requested a further evening to discuss topics such as podiatry, hearing and dementia / alzheimers support.

Margot Ladner, President of the Cecil Plains Bush Nursing Fundraising Committee, told us that the community is very keen to keep the clinic viable as an acute health and respite service, with nurses skilled to meet client needs, up-to-date equipment and well maintained premises. She said that one pleasing result of the project was that they have gained several very enthusiastic and knowledgeable people who have joined their Fundraising Committee.

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